Tag Archives: young men

New phase. Sad phase? Good phase!

15 Feb

A little boy's party

A little boy’s party

My eldest turned sixteen this week and last night was the planned sleepover/ hang-out with all of his buddies.  I started off the day doing what any normal mommy does for their beast’s birthday and decorated for his party.  (A typical mom trying to hold on to her baby and keep him her ‘little boy’.)  I thought it would be funny to put up some cutesy decor so he’d be surprised upon coming home from school to see the dinosaur-themed balloons, plates, napkins, streamers and pencil eraser party favors.

By day’s end, my quite-at-peace, goofy mommy phase transitioned.  Such a bittersweet and surreal moment when you come home from work and find strange cars in your driveway, only to realize they belong to your beast’s friends.  I know they’ve grown up.  I’ve even seen some driving around town.  But not until it was in my own home did it hit me that this is a totally new phase.  The baby beasts are moving on, and I guess I should too.   So my sentimental side pondered it and worked to cope with the reality that this is the beginning of the good-bye.  Independence.  Self-sufficiency.  The apron strings are appearing quite severed.

Then came the major pole shift.  The light bulb moment.  The cool breeze across my mind awakening me to the reality that this isn’t a sad, bittersweet phase at all.  This is a good phase.  They have their own cars.  They want their independence.  They want to be self-sufficient.  I can leave and go have dinner with my husband at my favorite Mexican dive because they just drove themselves to get their own food.  I don’t have to cook for them.  In fact, one of his friends even made and brought over a birthday cake!  Another drove in the driveway to hand off a huge bag of carrots to my birthday beast.  (I know that part sounds weird but the big beast loves carrots.)  I just sat back and let it all happen.

Teenage take out

Teenage take out

And the best part was when I woke up this morning…. they had already gone to get their own donuts too!  I am so off the hook.  Well…. at least until my younger beast turns sixteen.  2 years and 8 months to go.

Parenting Tip:  Whether you’re prone to let go or hang on – you don’t ever get to stop loving them. It’s just a natural part of us.

[Romans 8:38-39  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.]


A summer of success

25 Aug

I really hate it when school starts back (which is tomorrow for us.)  I enjoy sleeping in and not having a schedule or having to nag anyone about homework, projects, etc.  I enjoy hanging with my beasts and having no particular commitments to cart them to hour by hour.   So since I usually use this blog to gripe, bemoan or sigh out loud and in writing about something beastly they’ve done, I thought I’d take today to share their top 5 triumphs of the summer.   Triumphs at least in my eyes.

Younger beasts paints a house on mission trip

Younger beast paints a house on mission trip

5)  Both beasts gave a week of their summer to go on mission trips and repair or rebuild homes for needy families.

4)  On separate occasions both beasts asked for permission or cleared it with me before watching movies they weren’t sure I’d approve of — I only rejected one movie that was offered to my 12-year-old which happened to be rated R.   The other movies were approved.

3)  I was told that a 17-year-old relative commented that my eldest beast is a person of character who holds strong to the things he believes in and wouldn’t waiver to peer opinion.  That may not always be the case as he grows and meets new people and circumstances.  But for now, it’s pretty good coming from a teenager about a teenager I thought.  (Wish I’d been a fly on the wall for the conversation that led to that compliment.)

Keys to the new car

Keys to the new car

2)  My eldest beast was thrilled to get his first car this summer — a truck that is just one year younger than him, has manual windows, doors and a cassette player.  He was actually most excited about the cassette player, I think.  And now I realize why I kept all my cassette tapes.  But seriously, I am so thankful he doesn’t expect a new car with any bells and whistles, or really even care about the appearances of his new/old truck.  He even kept the Hot Wheels key chain that came with it.

1)  I really, really wanted my eldest beast to get a job this summer, earn some money and learn about crappy summer jobs.  Well it’s really difficult to find a job for a 15-year-old, especially one who goes away for mission trip and spends 1/2 the summer in marching band rehearsals.   But God’s plan was different.  Because he didn’t get the jobs he applied for, he was able to devote about 3 solid weeks to clearing the side property for our next door neighbor.  She is recently widowed and was so appreciative to be able to see out the window of her sewing room again.  He worked hard at it, really hard – in 100 degree heat, several hours day after day.  And really without much prodding or nagging.

All in all, it was a good summer that flew by  so quickly and now it is over.  😦  Now it is back to the routines and structure and run, run, running around.  If summer is any indication of the school year though, I think we’ll make it through just fine.

Parenting Tip:  Recognize your children when they do things well, or even when they just try.

[Proverbs 22:6  Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.]

My Beast is Brilliant

8 Mar

hamster wheel

What they want you to think

I just had a light bulb moment.  So many puzzling and frustrating encounters could have been avoided had I figured this out sooner — my beast is actually brilliant.  You may not realize it, but if you have an adolescent son – he is too.  I know because they need no advice, know where everything is and exactly what needs to be done.

Even if they try to make you think they need help, can’t find anything and will never do their chores, they are probably just humoring you so you think you are still needed.  You’re not.  They really have everything under control.

Their grades may not reflect it, but again I am sure that is just a ruse. The look on their faces may seem blank when you ask them questions, but that’s got to be part of their cover.  Rest assured, they need nothing from us.

They just haven’t moved out yet because the law says they can’t do so until age 18.   Silly laws.  At least now that I’ve figured it out, I won’t be confused when they do something so perplexing.  You see, they can only be brilliant because they have such a brilliant mom.  Booyah!

Parenting Tip:  Remember, mistakes are chances to mold and teach them while they are still under your roof and you can still force them to listen.

[Proverbs 28:26  If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.]

Seek to See

17 Feb

Clear as day

This is my entry table.  There is a catch-all basket for keys, glasses, etc.  And when I have outgoing mail or coupons ready to use, they sit on the table.  Can you find a haircut coupon in this picture?  I know this blog is about raising boys, but I often tell people I meet for the first time that I am actually raising 3 — my first two happen to be 30 years apart in age.  Yes my husband is an honorary beast, and yesterday he reminded me that beasts are indeed blind.

The condition afflicts my other beasts too.  I sent my youngest out to clip a piece of rosemary for me and it took 3 tries, even after I gave him a sample to take and match up.  I know, that isn’t fair — boys shouldn’t have to know which herb is which – but really, rosemary looks nothing like mint or parsley.   That event really didn’t bother me as much as the blatant instances where I am convinced males just can’t see.

In our house, we have an exchange that takes place when ‘they’ can’t find something.  “Mom, I can’t find my soccer cleats.”  I reply, “Did you seek them?”  It is to the point where my husband won’t ask for help until he’s actually bent his knees to look below eye level, moved an item from the front row of the pantry or opened every drawer in the fridge before he comes to me with tail tucked, “I really did seek it.”  Not just see, but seek.

It is just a little extra encouragement to ensure they’ve actually made the effort to ‘go in search of’ as the dictionary defines seek, and not just ‘form a mental picture’ to see something.  You really have to seek it to see it.  Make sense?

Now that this has become a new standard, I know they are trying.  I know they are seeking.  Right?  So they must be visually impaired.  The only thing in common, the only connection between all the things they seek but cannot find, is that these things 99.4% of the time are actually put away.  In their proper place.  Where they belong.  In a locale as expected.  Exactly as I’ve described.   Rarely is it an item in the middle of the floor, under the bed or strewn about the back of my car that they can’t locate.  Very interesting indeed.

A few days back, I had mentioned to my head beast that the coupon was in the basket on the entry table.  So yesterday when I arrived home to see his new high and tight hairstyle, I asked, “Did you use the coupon?”  Tail between his legs and eyes a little droopy, “I couldn’t find it on the entry table, but I really did seek it.”  Of course I went back to check, because there is always the chance that I am slightly crazy.  I could tell he looked around for it – he tried to seek it.  So clearly he must be blind, right? At least selectively so.

Parenting Tip:  Patiently lead your family to the correct answers, no matter how often the questions are asked.

Matthew 7:7  Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.]

Socks of an Unacceptable Nature

4 Feb

Row of rejection from left to right: too tight, too small, too tall, wrong style, wrong color

I didn’t expect boys would have an accessory they cared so much about as they seem to about socks.  Socks just cover your feet to absorb sweat and prevent blisters – or so I thought.  The untold reality though is that the sock may just be the most crucial article of clothing a beast will wear.  In fact, the function of a sock apparently has absolutely nothing to do with its acceptance into your home.  I’ve deduced it is all about one of two things:  fit and appearance.

Honestly, I am still perplexed appearance plays into it at all  – most of the sock is covered by the shoe.  Not to mention, my beasts haven’t even mastered the art of assembling an outfit that matches. I’ve never made a big deal out of mismatched clothes, really.   In fact, I am pretty sure all shades of red are still equal in our home.  Crimson shorts with apple red shirts – no big deal.  Pairing brown and gray plaid with an easter egg green shirt is quite acceptable for them.  So why on earth do the socks mean so much?

So then there is fit.  My elder beast has taught me something I’ve never been aware of before now:  According to him, it is in fact possible for socks to be too tight.  It is to the point that once a new package of socks has been washed and dried, what was once an acceptable fit suddenly ‘chokes’ his feet.  Of course, I have no idea what I am talking about when I assure him they will stretch if he wears them for longer than one millisecond.  The next thing I know, I am finding 1/2 a dozen brand new men’s size socks in my younger son’s drawer — rejected after one use and handed down.

And back to appearance.  Our friends have lately been bemoaning the current obsession with the ‘high-performance’ sock.  Apparently, there are some socks with ‘new technology’ (that in itself makes me giggle) that have padding on all the right pressure points for high performance athletes.  The problem is that these high-caliber socks are about $13 per pair and going on the feet of kids who believe shoes are optional outside the home.  I am waiting for the day their son leaves a pair behind so I can wash them and see what all the fuss is about myself… but he covets these socks so that they are the only thing he doesn’t forget when he spends the night.   Thankfully, in our home, we aren’t dealing with this specialty sock – yet.

For my youngest, it is all about the ‘no-show’.  Unless he is playing soccer, skiing or wearing hiking boots, there is no way he’ll wear a sock that peeks out above his shoe.   And unless it is a dire circumstance, that sock will not be white either.  Not a problem for them to be mismatched in color either.  And surprisingly pink, bright orange and neon blue are also acceptable – but white is just weird.

My husband used to pick on me when I bought clothes for the boys as Christmas or birthday gifts.  “Clothes aren’t gifts,” he’d say.  But now he’s seen the wisdom in it.  Just as electronics have replaced Legos and action figures, nothing says Merry Christmas in our home like a perfectly fitted pair of socks under the tree.  I just realized, Saturday is big baby beast’s birthday….  time for some new socks.

Parenting Tip:  If they love it enough, they’ll buy it themselves.  Besides, clothes don’t make the man – character does.
[Matthew 6:27-33   Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. 30-33“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.]
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